Tips and Resources to Make You a Better Designer
First of all this article comes up with good news: anyone could become a web designer! Secondly, being a web designer supposes a lot of work, many hours spent searching for the novelties in the domain, infinite discussions with the clients, many nights spent to finish the projects due to the respect for deadlines, entire days waiting for inspiration and many times the rapport between the work invested and the payment received isn’t favorable. In spite of these irremediable disadvantages there are a lot of people ready to join this niche. Here, anyone interested about web design could find a complete list of resources that could guarantee a higher preparation on the road of becoming a web designer.
The first question that might be in the head of a beginner as web designer is if any studies are compulsive or only optional? The answer can vary, some believe that a diploma represents a guaranty of acknowledge, but mostly agree with the fact that all what really matter is the person itself. Probably the opinion of the great web designers (also the designers generally speaking is good to pay attention) should have a great relevance in establishing the answer to this problem. Here, you will find the opinion of the best web designers:
- Group Interview: Expert Advice For Students and Young Web Designers
- The Web Design Community Offers Advice To Beginners
- Can You Teach Yourself Web Design?
- Web/Graphic Designer Group Interview
- Q & A: A Career in Web Design
Making a brief of opinions about the necessity of a university or any superior studies in web design, the majority of the designers agreed with the idea that is highly recommended to graduate a school related to the domain, but definitely it is not a must. The most important for the majority of clients is not the diploma of the service provider, the only problem for a customer is the quality of the work. Usually, between a web designer with ten diplomas and an irrelevant portfolio and another designer that hasn’t got any studies in the domain, but holds an attractive portfolio the last one will win.
The arsenal of a web designer consists mostly of inspiration, creativity, hard work, but at the same time a lot of skillfulness is required as of basic principles of web design, color theory, logo design, and typography.
The next posts will introduce you the theoretical concepts of web design:
- The Principles of Design
- 10 Principles Of Effective Web Design
- Principles of Design | About.com
- Principles of Design | W3.org
- 9 Essential Principles for Good Web Design
The principles of any domain or science are only a set of guides, these are really important, but in most of cases their applicability consists in saying what is wrong or correct, not what is good or failing. None of the principles can state that by inserting a red based logo into the design of the website, it is the best in the world, but a basic principle of web design claims that the logo should be the essence of the website. Anyway, what is good to keep in mind is that learning by heart all the theory is in vain without many hours of practicing.
The web design is a cumulative field situated at the intersection of many others, the most important being: color theory, logo design, and typography.
Color theory is very important because any design without color is a dead project; usually colors have the power to make everything more attractive. What can be frustrating is the fact that there are almost an infinite number of colors, but good color combinations are very few comparing to the number of it.
For further information about this you can use the next resources:
- Understanding and the Meaning of Color Within Design
- Beginners Guide to Using the Power of Color in Web Design
- 25 Free Color Tools, Apps and Palette Generators
- Color Theory in Web Design : Blue Color Scheme
- A Look into Color Theory in Web Design
- A Guide to Top Color Combinations In Web Design
- Color Theory Helps With Web Design
- A Look into Color Theory in Web Design
- Color Theory, The Color Wheel And Color Schemes
- Color Theory for Designers, Part 1: The Meaning of Color
A logo is also a strategic element of a design page: usually it creates the first impression. It is very important because somehow it is the element which makes the passage between the online world- inserted in the header of the website and the true reality – inserted on a business card, a poster or a cover page.
Here are valuable resources both for amateurs and real pros in logo design:
- The Evolution of The Logo
- Eight Helpful Rules for Logo Designers
- The Complete Guide of Becoming a Logo Designer
- 12 Logo Design Mistakes To Avoid
- Logo Design Process Tutorial
- Logo Design Tips & Interview with Leighton Hubbell
- Logo Design Fun: Games, Parodies & More
- Logo Design History
- Design a Logo – The Ultimate Guide
Typography- even if a letter is small and easy to neglect, a professional web designer can’t afford to do it. As a web designer I always say to my clients that small elements make big differences. It is really important to select the proper font, much more, usually the construction of a logo is based on typography so don’t ignore it.
In the list bellow every aspect of typography is treated very well, enough to make everyone aware of it:
- Learn the Basics: 25+ Sites And Resources To Learn Typography
- 29 principles for making great font combinations
- The Beauty Of Typography: Writing Systems And Calligraphy Of The World
- The Beauty Of Typography: Writing Systems And Calligraphy, Part 2
- 50 Helpful Typography Tools And Resources
- 50 Useful Design Tools For Beautiful Web Typography
- Web Design is 95% Typography
- 101 Typography Resources for Web Designers
- 10 Great Tips For Improving Your Web Typography
Tools of the Trade
A web designer uses his imagination a lot, but it is turned into something palpable with the help of two great tools that make everything more easily: Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. I don’t want to be prepossessed, there are many another programs, but these are the best and most common ones.
No problems if you don’t know how to use them; on the Internet are a lot of resources that present entire courses about Photoshop and Illustrator.
- Learn Photoshop: All of the Basics for Beginners
- Learn Adobe Illustrator: All the Basics for Beginners
The best method of learning web design is the tutorial. This kind of post – and these are varying from one for beginners to the most advanced users, has the purpose of presenting the steps in the process of creating a layout (tutorials has many others theme, not only web design). Usually, there are two types of tutorials: video or written format, both of them are good, but as a personal opinion I give more credits to the last version. The written format is better because the author can present more details, the steps are very well defined and is easily to check if along the process you have done something wrong or missed a step (it is perfect if the tutorial has some screen shots with the situation at the most important steps). This list of tutorials is suitable for any web designer and for any preferences, enjoys it:
- Adobe Photoshop – Website Layouts
- The Ultimate Collection Of Brilliant Web Design Tutorials
- 27 Best Photoshop Web Layout Design Tutorials to Design Decent Web Layouts
- 20 High Quality Photoshop Web Design Tutorials
- 40+ Greatest Web Interface Design Photoshop Tutorials, Part I
- 150 Useful Adobe Photosohp Web Design Layout Tutorials and Techniques
- 12 Of The Best Photoshop Web Design Tutorials
- 40 Grunge Web Design Tutorials, Resources and Inspiration
- 20 Most Wanted Web Design Tutorials
- 30 Super Fresh Web Design Tutorials
Documentation / E-Books
Some of us are considering the tutorials still incomplete and don’t read or simply ignore these. It is an unpleased situation, but still there is a remedy: the e-books.
The books below are for the ones who need more information or simply don’t take into account the power of tutorials.
- 10 Essential Free E-Books for Web Designers
- 20+ Excellent Free EBooks for Web Designers
- 12 Useful and Free Downloadable Web Design Books
- 9 More Useful and Free Downloadable Web Design Books
- 30+ Best Websites to Download Free E-books
- 20 Best Websites To Download Free E-Books, Part II
Get Feedback for Your Work
Human beings are characterized by subjectivity so nobody can evaluate his work at full potential, some are overestimating or underestimating the quality of their layouts so to have a better opinion about the level of someone’s work it is highly recommended to use feedback from the best web designers.
It is easy to find a decent and objective opinion about your work, check these:
Now, the guys who follow these resources are ready for work and of course ready to get paid for. It is better to work from home as freelancer, but it is also a great work for a web design company, it is up to you. Anyway, as a freelancer there are many job boards with a lot of good opportunities. Some job boards are well-know some less, but this fact isn’t very important, what matters most, is the final product the clients receive.
It is impossible not to find some good projects on these job boards.
- Get Hired: 15 Best Job Boards for Freelancers
- Top 25 Places To Get Freelance Jobs
- 10 Great Places to Find Web Design Jobs
Well, at the end of the day, we all do this for money, so it’s helpful to know some good invoicing tips and resources.
Please see the link below to better understand how to receive money from the clients!
To conclude, being a web designer is by far not an easily task, but it is really worth for a creative person to enjoy this job. Nothing can be compared with the feeling of doing something awesome which is appreciated by the clients. The new standards of HTML5 and CSS3 seems to bring a new touch in the process of creating new websites, all people in the field are waiting for the latest novelties. In fact a must for a web designer is to be constantly updated with the latest news, tools and trends, so always read and experiment!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock